I always enjoy when a post ends up being one point on a wave of posts on a topic, like there is some schooling going on in this enervated blogosphere. Alexandra’s most recent post touches sidelong at something I have wanted to talk about again, a point at which I often feel myself at odds with how people talk about magic, namely the mutability of reality.
My experience of magical reality includes the mutability of the world, of course. That is just magic. I have usually experienced that mutability against a wall, though. I get down to the bottom and find the solid ground, this dark and immutable wall, and between myself and the wall there is a mutable space. I recall with clarity a communal call going out for work and prayers over a health issue and, when I settled into trying, finding there was no wall to push up from, that the matter was already settled.
I have had that experience more than once when I set out to do magic. I settle into my ritual space, working to engage those deeper strands of fate and consciousness, and what I find is that what changes is my reason for doing magic, not reality. In the act of contemplation, the fragility of what I wanted becomes apparent and the reality of what I need to deal with, accept, and integrate becomes apparent.
I know that sounds like psychologizing magic, but I think that’s because we’ve over-psychologized those terms; most of these experiences are barely psychological at all. The integration goes on at a deeper level than my conscious thoughts can easily process and it usually takes some time to appreciate what was going on in the work. There are psychological ripples, but they seem like aftershocks of the spiritual shifts.
None of this is meant to imply that I can get down there and find proper crossroads, a network of possibilities which requires a willful ego to set in a direction. It is just that, more often than not, what is going is an adjustment of myself to reality, rather than of reality as a whole.
There is probably something to be said here about the problem of the Yeatsian daimon here and the magical work that allows us to negotiate with this other form of consciousness whose thinking composes the events of our life. It is consciousness, but not a consciousness like our own, but rather precisely unlike ours. What we do in some of our magical operations is begin to think more like the daimon (acceptance) while the daimon begins to think more like us (activity).
Again, there are limits here, because the daimon, like ourselves, is one consciousness among many, embedded in a world that may or may not be best described as itself conscious. I would then rather talk about a level at which reality becomes more mutable, in which we discover both destiny and fate, rather than say that the closer to reality we get, the more mutable it becomes. Because it seems to me that the mutability of reality itself sits atop an even more rigid immutability.
As an aside, this is also where I would start a discussion of sex magic, because it is in the play of sexual desire and its fulfillment that we see a set of dynamics in play that parallel those in play when we engage with the daimonic level of reality.